Carve me out, God. Create a new place for you to inhabit. Reform me, shape me as a river erodes the land, forming canyons of immense beauty. Sink your roots deep inside me, break my stubborn rock apart by gentle pressure. Hollow my cave until I whisper and whistle your presence with every move, until I resonate and reverberate your holiness with every sound.
I am being hollowed. Opened up, emptied of what is unnecessary. What I thought was important, what I held dear to me is being cracked apart and allowed to drift away in the wind like chaff. Over and over again, God is proving what is important in my life. God is allowing me to learn from my experiences, and has journeyed with me through some incredibly deep valleys.
My first year of ministry it was my able-bodiedness. When I lost the ability to walk, I learned that I could rely on others to meet my needs, and I learned that I could serve God in different ways. I learned how to see the world as someone who has to roll through buildings and over surfaces. I learned new limits, how easy it is to wear out over what used to seem so simple.
I am able to walk again, my handicap was merely temporary. I hold on to the memories to learn and remember what it is like for those who cannot heal so very quickly, or cannot heal at all.
Now it is my headaches. I do not go a day without pain that interferes with my thought. I have days where the only option is to go back to bed and force unconsciousness. Most days I can do what I need to do, but some of the joy is stolen as the pain overtakes me. I scrape by on bits and pieces of good moments, and struggle through a migraine only to find another one waiting at the next inopportune time.
God did not give me these headaches, but God is using them to teach me to rely on the love and support of others, and especially on God.
I wish I could snap my fingers and find the solution to this pain. I pray that I don’t wake up the next morning with a head so full of pain that I have to cradle my face in my palms. There are things I cannot do because of this pain. I have to choose between what I need to get done and what I want to finish. I usually work through the pain, and manage to do ministry, hiding my suffering behind a translucent veneer of coping.
Eventually I will be able to share how I have grown, what I have learned, who I have become in the midst of this experience that reaches to every part of my life. Once this part of the journey is done, the transformation will be surprising. For now, as I am in the midst of this process of breaking down and rebuilding, all I can see is the suffering.
I trust that God is forming me into a vessel that will deliver the Word to places that I don’t know about yet. But the future is muddy. The valleys are deep and steeped in shadows. Pain is my constant companion. The emptiness reigns.
I wait to be filled.